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  SKIING TRIP: Vansittart Woods

December 28, 2004

Vansittart Woods is a property owned by the Thames Valley District School Board and operated as an Outdoor Education Centre. It is located just north of Hwy 401, east of Eastwood. See the map (below) for the exact location of the trails.

Fairly sunny for most of the day. The wind was not too stong, and most trails are fairly well sheltered from the wind. The temperature was about -5 oC or so when we set off at around 10:30 in the morning, but warmed up to about -3 oC by the time we left at around 12:30.

The snow conditions were excellent--fast, with a good base about 20 cm thick. I started off with Toko Blue Wax, followed up with a light coat of Toko Purple. Trails are not groomed at Vansittart Woods, although they get a fair amount of use, and thus there are almost always tracks to follow. Today, the tracks were fresh, and quite good.

Matt Fallowfield and I set off this morning for a quick ski outing to Vansittart Woods. The plan was to get in a good couple of hours skiing, and also map out the trails using the Garmin eTrex Venture GPS that I received for Christmas. After I had some breakfast, I headed in to Matt's place in town. He threw his skis in the car, and we headed off to Vansittart Woods. We arrived at the parking lot at around 10:30 am, and prepared for a couple hours of skiing.

I was excited to test out the Garmin eTrex Venture GPS I had received for Christmas, and thus had it out to play with for most of the day. After we were all ready to go, we set off up the main trail. We did several laps of the main loops, going down "The Chute" three times. According to the GPS, I reached a top speed of 24.9 km/hr going down the hill there! Not bad I'd say, as the hill really isn't that steep.

We doubled back a couple of times to make sure that we had recorded all of the trails in the GPS tracklog (I lost satellite reception a couple of times, until I learned to keep the GPS horizontal so that the antenna had a better view.) On our last loop around the trails, we saw the first people we'd seen all day, and they turned out to be Hil's parents out walking their dog!

After we figured we'd had enough skiing, and had seen all of the trails, we headed back to the parking lot. On the way, we went off the dock, and did a bit of skiing on the ice of the pond behind the school building. The snow wasn't very thick on the ice, and I did some "skate skiing" for a bit. When we arrived back at the parking lot, another car was just coming in. I was suprised that there weren't more skiers out on such a great day!

Today's trip proved once again that Vansittart Woods is by far the best skiing area within a half-hour's drive of Woodstock (at least that I know of!)

We did several laps of the trails, to ensure that we had them all stored in the GPS. Of course, we had to run down "The Chute" three times! The total stats for this trip were:
  • Moving Time: 1 hr 22 min
  • Max Speed: 24.9 km/hr
  • Avg. Speed: 5.9 km/hr
  • Today's Total Ski Distance: 8.13 km
  • My map of the area, created with the GPS data collected on this trip.
  • Since this area is part of Oxford County, you can see more information (including aerial photographs) on the County of Oxford Land Related Information Systems website, located at http://lris.county.oxford.on.ca.
  • 1:50,000 Natural Resources Canada topo map of the area, 40 P/2 (Woodstock) from Toporama
More Info:
  This page was last updated on May 3, 2005 at 06:16 PM